Learning how to steam vegetables properly is an important way to get nutrition into our diets. Though, when you boil them, you lose half the nutrients that vegetables house. Scientists have recommended that the best way to retain vitamins and nutrients is to steam vegetables instead.

Depending on our diets and personal tastes, steaming vegetables has additional benefits. For many, eating raw broccoli or chomping on a raw carrot holds too bitter a taste and leaves us unsatisfied. But, steaming and seasoning them makes them more tender and flavorful thereby introducing a much better experience for our taste buds. So, sit back and learn how to steam vegetables with these three simple methods.

Steaming Times

carrots and artichokes

Before we hop into the how-to, let's briefly go over the times you should be aiming for.

Vegetable Steaming Times On The Stove

Some vegetables will take longer to steam than others. If you have something that already leans on the softer side, like broccoli, green beans, or spinach, then it will obviously take less time to cook. The harder vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and squash, on the other hand, will take you significantly longer.

Arugula: 3-4 minutes

Artichoke hearts: 10-13 minutes

Broccoli: 5-7 minutes

Brussell sprouts: 7-12 minutes

Cabbage: 6-8 minutes

Carrots, cut: 5-6 minutes

Cauliflower: 6-12 minutes

Corn, cut: 5-6 minutes

Eggplant: 5-8 minutes

Mushrooms: 5-6 minutes

Onions: 15-20 minutes

Peas: 5-8 minutes

Peppers: 3-5 minutes

Potatoes cut: 15-30 minutes

Spinach: 3-4 minutes

Squash: 15-35 minutes

Turnips: 15-20 minutes

Vegetable Steaming Times In The Microwave

If you're interested in steaming your veggies in the microwave than the times will differ slightly. Find yourself a microwave-safe dish and steam your veggies until they're tender.

Arugula: 2-3 minutes

Artichoke hearts: 5-7 minutes

Broccoli: 5-10 minutes

Brussell sprouts: 5-8 minutes

Cabbage: 5-10 minutes

Carrots, cut: 5-8 minutes

Cauliflower: 3-5 minutes

Corn, cut: 2-3 minutes

Eggplant: 5-10 minutes

Mushrooms: 3-5 minutes

Onions: 5-10 minutes

Peas: 5-7 minutes

Peppers: 2-4 minutes

Potatoes cut: 8-11 minutes

Spinach: 2-4 minutes

Squash: 5-10 minutes

Turnips: 6-8 minutes

How To Steam Vegetables With A Steamer

vegetables in a steamer

Almost everyone has a steamer, colander, or a steaming pot at home. These tools are essential for correctly steaming vegetables without burning them or making them too soft. Should this be your method of choice, here's what you need to do in order to get those greens to the perfect tenderness.

What You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Steamer basket/colander/steaming pot
  • Pot with a lid

Steps

  • Cut your vegetables into smaller pieces.
  • Pour about one inch of water into the pot and place your steamer basket/colander/steaming pot on top.
  • Turn on medium heat and bring the water to a boil.
  • Add your vegetables into the steamer basket/colander/steaming pot and reduce the heat.
  • Place the lid over the pot. Leave enough room for the steam to escape but don't leave your pot uncovered.
  • Steam your vegetables. You can refer to the above list for times.
  • Poke your vegetables after a few minutes with a fork or knife to test their tenderness.
  • Once the desired tenderness is acquired, remove from heat and serve.

Things To Remember

A popular method for many is to remove cauliflower and broccoli from their stems and serve the florets. You'll also reduce your cooking time if you cut vegetables into smaller pieces. Though some people prefer to cook their vegetables whole, chances are no one at the dinner table is going to wolf down an entire head of cabbage, so cutting your veggies makes things easier in the long run.

When it comes to placing the lid on the pot, some lids come with a small hole already poked through, also known as a vented lid. This allows the steam to escape. If you have a solid lid, on the other hand, you just need to leave your lid slightly askew so the steam escapes. Just make sure that you're not leaving the pot totally uncovered.

How To Steam Vegetables Without A Steamer

steamed vegetables in a pot

So, say you don't have a steamer/colander/steaming pot at home. No worries! There are simple ways for you to steam your vegetables without the need for any additional equipment. In fact, all you really need is a pot or pan and some water to get things going.

What You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Pot with a lid

Steps

  • Cut your vegetables into smaller pieces.
  • Pour about half an inch of water into the pot.
  • Turn on medium heat and bring the water to a boil.
  • Add your vegetables to the pot and reduce heat.
  • Place the lid over the pot. Leave enough room for the steam to escape but don't leave your pot uncovered.
  • Steam your vegetables. You can refer to the above list for times.
  • Keep an eye on the water level. Check in every minutes or so because if the water evaporates, you'll need to add about half an inch more to maintain the steam.
  • Poke your vegetables after a few minutes with a fork or knife to test their tenderness.
  • Once the desired tenderness is acquired, remove from heat and serve.

How To Steam Vegetables In The Microwave

someone putting vegetables in the microwave

Believe it or not, you can steam vegetables safely in the microwave and it's just as easy as the other two methods. You don't need too much additional cookware either and if anything, steaming vegetables in the microwave will actually cut down cooking time.

What You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Microwave-safe bowl/dish
  • Plastic wrap

Steps

  • Cut your vegetables into smaller pieces.
  • Add a tiny bit of water (no more than a tablespoon) to the bottom of your dish.
  • Place veggies into your microwave-safe bowl/dish.
  • Put the plastic wrap over the bowl, but leave one edge uncovered.
  • Microwave the vegetables on high. You can refer to our list for approximate steaming times.
  • Poke your vegetables after a few minutes with a fork or knife to test their tenderness.
  • Once the desired tenderness is acquired, remove from heat and serve.

Things To Remember

With the microwave method, it's important to keep in mind that most vegetables only take about five or six minutes until they're done. Some microwaves are much more powerful than others, so it would be safer for you to steam your veggies for about 5-6 minutes and then add 1-2 minutes additional time if you need it. Steaming vegetables in spurts is the best way to ensure you don't make things too soft.

Even though one edge of the bowl will be uncovered, the rest of the bowl should be sealed very tightly in the plastic wrap to keep any additional steam from escaping.

a bunch of vegetables on a cutting board

Gone are the days of worrying about proper steaming methods. So you don't have a steaming pot or colander at home. There are other ways to get things done. With these three simple methods, you'll soon be steaming your vegetables like a total pro.

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